At the start, bourbon vanilla adds saucy sugar to a very supple camelia (Krigler 2009). Matter of fact this pair is so vibrant, engaging and certain in their intentions that you can’t help but be carried away momentarily to a sunlit solarium or a perfect spring day outdoors. The noble flower is flanked by delicate musk, a particularly luxurious and well done note of pink pepper, and chilled, quiet cedar. Truly, you can almost smell each petal and it’s glorious. I love this fragrance, hope to acquire a bottle someday and heartily recommend it. It’s very well blended and it has a fresh, contemporary sensibility but the brilliant detail, quality and depth are from a different time.
Notes: camelia blossom, bourbon vanilla, musk, pink pepper, cardamom, cedar and Chinese tea.
Juniper mixes with citrus and jumps about (Hermès 2003). It’s a brew of thorny cypress and woody fig leaf. Even worn in the true chill of a November day in Minnesota there’s a supple, young and lush beauty – almost as if a honeyed floral sweetness (orange blossom) plays with the scattered fall leaves and brings buoyant delight with a promise of warm light. Into the drydown there’s subtle spice, and an cerulean charm… I like this one.
Top notes: bergamot, lemon and mandarin orange. Middle notes: orange blossom and white nerium oleander. Base notes: juniper, red cedar, musk, pistachio, fig leaf and cypress.
This scent makes me happy. While the notes certainly don’t seem … autumnal (i.e. mango, tomato, carrot and bulrush)… it perfectly suits my mood. And frankly the iris, lotus, peony and citrus (lemon, orange) along with the Hermès signature are what I smell most when I wear it (Hermès 2005). Actually it feels like a kind, friendly and relaxed citrus scent to my nose – the sort of citrus you wear on cold, gray days to be reminded of the sun. Politely reminded. I need to acquire this…
Top notes: grapefruit, green mango, carrot and tomato. Middle notes: orange, lotus, bulrush, hyacinth, and peony. Base notes: incense, musk, cinnamon, iris and labdanum.
Nose: Jean-Claude Ellena
I’m beginning to recognize the Jo Malone signature, and of course this one is not an exception. English Oak and Hazelnut (Jo Malone 2017) is fresh, clean, cheerful and bright but elegant. While a citrus note isn’t listed the cedar is especially citrusy and the hazelnut and oak seem to join together in unison to create a starched, woody and yet light and perfectly autumnal scent. Both the cedar and oak are a little pine-like too. Very enjoyable.
Top note: hazelnut. Middle note: cedar. Base note: oak.
Nose: Yann Vasnier
With an opening that’s intensely spicy, warm and sweet, Potpourri (Prince Matchabelli 1940) is beautifully vintage. To my nose this is mostly a polite but not at all boring violet, ylang ylang, hyacinth, cloves and rich musk scent… Although a woody benzoin is one of those sort of notes that is dominant, but so very quietly in the background that it’s easy to underestimate its significance. At least it’s easy to miss the benzoin at the start. Into the drydown it emerges in a way reminiscent of someone smoking a pipe with the vanillic tobacco of a bygone era. This is one of those fragrances that informs us of the era it came from.
Top notes: lemon, citruses, hyacinth. Middle notes: ylang ylang, lilac, rose, violet, cloves and spicy notes. Base notes: musk, benzoin, vanilla, and woody notes.
Chanel Beige (Chanel 2008) is perfectly named. The image of beige colored Chanel shoes or handbags certainly come to mind with this beauty. Smooth, sweet, luminous and delightfully tangy frangipani and freesia create a fruity cocktail with honey and hawthorne. And, the effect is, as many have commented, reminiscent of honeydew melon. But it also reminds me of banana, pineapple and perhaps even pear. There’s a cerulean tinged green quality to it too. Very green. Matter of fact, it even reminds me a bit of vintage Estée Lauder Private Collection. I also am reminded of the tremendously popular cucumber melon combinations of the late 90’s. Still, it’s frothy, rich and so Chanel – irreplaceable and very pretty.
Notes: hawthorne, frangipani, honey and freesia.
Nose: Olivier Polge
Writing about this one is scary. It reminds me of a class I took in my junior year of college. I went to a private religiously affiliated college and for one required Biblical studies class I had a professor who insisted that by the end of his class we would be amazed by an interpretation he had of a particular book in the Bible. Our final grade would be based largely on this intrepretation and a presentation involving it, but the catch was that we had to guess what his interpretation was based on what we had learned throughout the course. As luck would have it in my innocence and trust I believed him and began to look for something astounding. In my assigned group for the presentation everyone else found and tended to believe the most obvious answer, but I kept looking for that (as he literally put it) “life changing” nugget of wisdom.
At the time of our presentation I decided to take a risk and differ from everyone else in the group. Of course, they were right. And I got harshly yelled at in front of everyone in my group… I was hurt, confused and shocked. Apparently my “crazy” answer was sacrilegious and deeply offensive. But again… (and I say this very seriously) I was looking for something you could think was “life changing.” 😂😬🤔😆😂
Anyway, one thing I learned from that rather traumatic experience was that what one person sees as “amazing” to someone else can be… painfully, pathetically obvious. You truly have to interpret many opinions in life with a humility rooted in the knowledge that all of our experiences are wildly different. There are facts but how things affect you is so incredibly personal and beyond objection.
I love Gabrielle (Chanel 2017). To me, on my skin, this Olivier Polge beauty is magnificent.
Gabrielle is utterly melancholy, almost sad. Actually, if a perfume could cry I think this one might. But it’s ethereal, moving and subtle. And sure it’s glamorous, but in a quiet, polite citrus, jasmine and orange blossom way. The warm base notes are present but airy and reserved. And there is that Chanel tuberose (also found in Chanel No. 22) that on my skin is different than any other tuberose – very demure and nearly a different note.
This is also a very vintage-like scent. If there’s any awkwardness I read it’s because it feels like Chloé Love Story gave one of my very old floral aldehydes a modern makeover and she’s stunning but maybe she didn’t need it… Still the heart of Gabrielle shines brightly through and feels marvelously alive.
Top notes: lemon, black currant and mandarin orange. Middle notes: jasmine, ylang ylang, orange blossom and tuberose. Base notes: musk and sandalwood.
Nose: Olivier Polge
Lavender, musky, sweet lavender comes through with the smell of an herbal, lovely grass note (Chanel 2011). Then more herbal beauty floats about the skin laced with that burning, glowing, musky warmth. But it’s the very vintage-like florals that perfectly flank the lavender. It’s as if lavender threw a party for her closest friends and they ate a big, fluffy cake. It’s a tremendously lovely… I adore Jersey.
Notes: lavender, vanille, musk, wildflowers, grass, tonka bean, jasmine and rose.
Nose: Jacques Polge
While only honeysuckle and apple are listed as notes on Frangrantica, Drunk on Youth (Derek Lam 10 Crosby 2015) is still a rather complex scent. It’s very typical for a contemporary fragrance, true, but it’s also genuinely nice. The honeysuckle and apple used are neither too sweet nor too clean. To me this fragrance just reads as very fresh and surprisingly subtle, albeit a tinge synthetic. Either way, the rain kissed peony-like apple and honeysuckle that’s almost more like a note of chamomile, are lovely on this crisp autumn day.
Notes: honeysuckle and apple.
At the very, very first breath of Mon Guerlain (Guerlain 2017) you detect citrus. Then an almost retro lavender note emerges, but is coyly submerged into the currently popular gourmand sweet vanilla mixed with a pretty bit of jasmine and iris. It’s reminiscent of Black Opium, Prada Candy and a few others but there is a nice, refreshing floral accord that eventually seems to reemphasize the original lavender.
Nose: Thierry Wasser and Jelk